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THE HOUND OF BASKERVILLES CHAPTERS 1-5

In a character sketch you will include the following details:


1. Physical description (if given)
2. Deductions about his personality based upon his physical description
3. His/her role in the story
CHARACTER SKETCH OF SIR CHARLES BASKERVILLE
1. (physical description) NONE
2. (character) Sir Charles Baskerville is introduced to us through the eyes of Dr Mortimer, his
friend and medical attendant. He informs Holmes that Sir Charles was a strong minded man,
shrewd, practical and unimaginative. Yet he took the letter detailing the legend of the curse
on the Baskervilles quite seriously and had even shared this with his doctor and friend Dr
Mortimer. He had made large sums of money in South African speculation. Though it had
been only two years since he had taken up residence at Baskerville Hall, being himself
childless, his generous donations to local and county charities and his schemes of
reconstruction and improvement of the county won him the affection and respect of the
neighbourhood. Despite his considerable wealth, he was a man of simple tastes. Dr
Mortimer believes that he had become somewhat eccentric and his nervous system had
been strained to a breaking point. He was haunted by the legend of the hound and believed
he had actually seen it.
3. (significance) The mystery surrounding Sir Charles death is not resolved at the inquest.
These unanswered questions prompt Dr Mortimer to seek the help of Sherlock Holmes, for
he fears for the life of the next in line Sir Henry Baskerville.
CHARACTER SKETCH OF HENRY BASKERVILLE
1. (physical appearance)He was a small, alert, dark eyed man about thirty years of age, sturdily
built, with thick black eyebrows and a strong pugnacious face. He wore a ruddy tinted tweed
suit and had aweather beaten appearance, yet had the quiet assurance of a gentleman.
2. (character) Henry Baskerville is an impressive man. His dismissal of the threats to his life
shows that he is fearless. However, he is not an impulsive man, as is indicated by his thinking
over the entire issue before arriving at the decision to proceed to Baskerville Hall. He shares,
though, the fiery temper of his ancestors that brought the curse upon the family.
3. (significance) Henry Baskerville is the main character of the story and the reason for Sherlock
Holmes interest in the case. The threat to his life is real, as is indicated by the letter henry
Baskerville receives as soon as he arrives in London. There is also the puzzling instance of his
missing boot which defies the theory of a supernatural agency at work. The entry of Henry
Baskerville into the story gives the story a human angle as opposed to a supernatural one,
with the possibility of real danger and a real crime committed for real motives.
COMPARISON OF SHERLOCK HOLMES AND DR WATSON
1. Watson is eager to be methodical in his reasoning, and is even proud of using the methods
of Sherlock Holmes, but is not perceptive enough as he does not possess the latters
intelligence and analytical mind.

2. Holmes is exceeding proud of his skill, to the point of being conceited. One wrong guess on
his part annoys him as much as admitting it to Watson. He is also genuinely offended on
being called second best, and does not hesitate to make this known to Dr Mortimer. He
laughs at Watson, mocks him for his shortcomings as a detective, something Watson takes in
good humour because he is loyal to Sherlock Holmes and is quite in awe of him.
3. Holmes loves being dramatic and holding on to his conclusions so that he can reveal it to
Watson at the moment when it can create the maximum effect. On the other hand, Watson
eagerly and loyally shares everything with Holmes. When Watson meets him later in his
house after being rudely asked not to return till evening, he finds Holmes in a dressing gown
coiled up in in an armchair in a room thick with tobacco smokewith a several rolls of paper
around him.
CHARACTER SKETCH OF DR. MORTIMER
1. (Physical description)Much of the character of Dr Mortimer is revealed at the beginning of
the story through his walking stick which he leaves behind when he visits Sherlock Holmes.
From this stick Holmes concludes that their visitor was a doctor who formerly practiced at
the Charing Cross hospital and is now a country practitioner.
2. (character) He further concludes that he is about thirty years of age, amiable, unambitious,
absent minded and the possessor of a favourite dog. Upon meeting the man the next day
they notice signs of a laid back personality dressed in a professional but slovenly fashion, a
bent back despite being young, head thrust forward and a general air of peering
benevolence. There is a nervous energy about him as Sherlock Holmes notices the keen look
in his eyes and long quivering fingers as agile and restless as the antennae of an insect. He is
also rather eccentric in the manner in which he shows great interest in the shape of Sherlock
Holmes skull.
3. (significance) By seeking the help of Sherlock Holmes, Dr Mortimer becomes the means
through which the story is introduced to us. His restlessness and anxiety shows us that the
legend of the hound is widely believed to be true in the neighbourhood of the moor even by
the educated and men of science. He brings with him the original manuscript which carries
the details of the legend of the hound and it is through his eyes that we seeSir Charles
Baskervilles.

THE LEGEND OF THE BASKERVILLES/ THE SUPERNATURAL ELEMENT IN THE HOUND OF


BASKERVILLES
The legend of the Baskervilles is mentioned in the manuscript which Dr Mortimer brings for Sherlock
Holmes in connection with the mysterious death of Sir Charles Baskerville. It is an old manuscript
which has been handed over to Sir Charles Baskerville by his predecessor and contains in complete
detail the circumstances by which the curse came to fall on the house of Baskervilles. Dr Mortimer is
convinced that there is a link between this legend and Sir Charless death.
During the time of the Great Rebellion, Baskerville Hall was owned by Hugo Baskerville, a wild,
profane and godless man with a cruel and reckless humour. He fell in love with a poor yeomans
daughter. When she refused to give in to his advances, he kidnapped her and locked her in a room

upstairs. The girl was enraged by his conduct and taking advantage of the howling and merrymaking
downstairs, she fled as fast as she could upon the moor towards the farm, but was interceded by
Hugo and his hounds. His friends, who followed him in order to prevent him found both of them
dead, with the throat of Hugo being plucked apart by a great black beastshaped like a hound, with
luminous eyes and dripping eyes. Terrified, they ran away.
It is believed that this hound still roams the moors, and because of what Hugo had done, all of the
family of Baskervilles are doomed to die a similar death.
SHERLOCK HOLMES ATTEMPTS TO UNCOVER THE IDENTITY OF THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER
Though the man in the hansom cab with a bushy black beard and piercing eyes escapes, he was not
quick enough for Sherlock Holmes not to have noticed the number of the cab. He took three steps to
identify the stranger.
Firstly, he went to the district messenger office and asked for Cartwright, a lad who had helped him
previously in an investigation. Giving him a list of twenty three hotels, he gives him change to seek
the help of a hall porter to look for a copy of the previous days The Times with neat cuttings in it.
Also, by a quick survey of the register of the Northumberland Hotel, he ascertained that nobody with
any connection with the case had checked into the hotel after Henry Baskerville.
Secondly, he asked for the name and address of the cabman who drove the spy by sending a wire
from the official registry.
Thirdly, on discovering that Barrymore, the butler at Baskerville hall has a full, black beard, identical
to the man in the hansom cab, he decides to send two telegrams- one to Baskerville hall asking him
if all is ready for Sir Henry and the second one to the postmaster of Grimpen that the telegraph is to
be delivered into the hands of Barrymore only, thereby ascertaining the whereabouts of Barrymore.
These attempts, however, did not yield any results. Shortly Holmes received confirmation that
Barrymore was indeed at Baskerville Hall and there was no trace of any cut sheet of The Times in any
of the twenty three hotels. The cabman who drove the spy told Holmes, much to his surprise and
amusement, that the passenger had told him that he was a detective and his name was Sherlock
Holmes.

THE LANDSCAPE IN THE HOUND OF BASKERVILLES


Much of the action in The Hound of Baskervilles takes place on the moor, the largest open space in
southern England. It is an appropriate setting for a mystery model for various reasons. Firstly,
because of the many dangerous bogs and mires, which are damp and are covered mostly with moss,
this is a hostile landscape where nothing pleasant happens. Secondly, its lack of vegetation and its
proximity to the Dartmoor prison makes it bleak and uninhabitable.Grimpen mire is a great distance
away from Baskerville hall, the wide moor separating the two. Thirdly, it has huge boulders, stone

circles and stone rows, signs of prehistoric remains that have survived over a thousand years which
makes it disconnected with modern day life. Lastly, because of the wild nature of the landscape, it
has been a source of numerous myths and legends, including that of a huge and terrible hound that
inhabits the moor and kills people brutally.This legend is used skilfully by Mr Stapleton to murder Sir
Charles Baskerville and scare Henry Baskerville when he arrives at Baskerville Hall.
THE MYSTERY SURROUNDING THE DEATH OF SIR CHARLES BASKERVILLE
The circumstances surrounding the death of Sir Charles Baskerville were not cleared up entirely at
the inquest but were enough to set rumours of the hound at rest. There was no evidence of foul play
or any sign of violence at the time of death and it was established that he had died of a heart
condition. However there were things that remained unexplained. Firstly, when Sir Charles took his
nightly walk down the yew alley, the reason he stood for some five to ten minutes at the gate that
led to the moor even though he used to avoid the moor during night remains unexplained. Secondly,
it was not clear why his footprints altered as he proceeded down the alley, and why he walked on
tiptoe. Thirdly, even though there was no sign of violence upon his body, there was an incredible
facial distortion as to make Sir Charles almost unrecognizable. Fourthly, a little distance away from
where his dead body was discovered were the footprints of a gigantic hound. This is supported by
locals who claim to have seen the hound. I assure you that there is a reign of terror in the
district, Mortimer tells Holmes.
Though Sherlock Holmes is able to explain away these facts easilyand shows no interest in the
legend itself, dismissing it as a fairy tale, the legend of the hound has so coloured the judgement of
Dr Mortimer that he is sure of a supernatural agency at work. Though he himself has never seen the
hound, he claims that Sir Charles had, and the latter was so much in a nervous state regarding this
that he was convinced that his death will occur because of the hound.

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